Crothersville takes ownership of downtown lot



Nine months after making a $1 offer to acquire two downtown buildings, the Crothersville Town Council officially owns the property.

During the March 3 meeting at the town hall, Hubert Ashley Jr. agreed to sign the deed to the lots at 117 and 119 S. Armstrong St., transferring ownership to the town.

The council approved the offer 4-0. Councilwoman Katie Masters was absent.

“I don’t think there’s any reason why we need to have a lengthy discussion on it because I think we all know where we want to be on it,” Councilman Jamy Greathouse said before making a motion to move forward with the purchase.

In the summer of 2019, the town hired a contractor to tear down the buildings on the property because they were in bad shape and officials were concerned for the safety of anyone walking near them.

The town and Ashley initially agreed on a purchase of the property for $1, but after meeting there to discuss what would be taken down, there was miscommunication on what portion Ashley wanted to keep.

The council members then discussed a new plan with Ashley and his son, Bobby. Once two buildings came down and the rubble was cleared, that left the north side of the Ashley Foundry building at 125 S. Armstrong St. exposed, showing brick that’s partially covered, a red-painted wall and a raised roof.

If the Ashleys made the repairs or showed they were making reasonable attempts to make the repairs of their building, the town would purchase the property where the two buildings were removed for $1, and the town would be responsible for the $35,000 demolition cost.

“I believe the Ashleys addressed the aesthetic issues to the building,” council President Danieta Foster said. “They also addressed the immediate danger by removing the false roof.”

The town recently learned Ashley is thinking of selling the foundry building, and the council is now going to discuss what will be done with the empty lot next to it.

“I have spoken to the potential buyer about (Ashley’s) plan for the remaining buildings and believe it will address all of our concerns,” Foster said.

Payment for tearing down the buildings, doing cleanup and disposing of everything came from the town property fund.

“With the purchase of the property by the town, that will cancel any legal action against the Ashleys to recover the funds,” Foster said. “The council will be in discussion about the best use of the property. I am only one of five, but my opinion at this time is that we should use the property to address our need for parking.”

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